Blantyre District Commissioner Burnet Nkasala yesterday forced Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa out of a stakeholders meeting for the forthcoming nationwide anti-government protests slated for October 27, 2022.
Insiders say the Blantyre DC went that far purportedly due to Namiwa’s court bail condition forbidding him from leading any demonstrations that are contravening the police Act.
The CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has confirmed the development while describing the conduct of the Blantyre DC as a threat to democracy and death of professionalism on the part of public officers saying after the said bail condition he has been organising and leading numerous demonstrations but is shocked with the action almost one year down the line.
“When have DCs started monitoring whether people are complying with bail conditions or not? Nonetheless, let me seize this opportunity to put matter to rest. My lawyers already objected in court the demands by police prosecutor Mangani who was praying to the court that I should no longer be involved in organising demonstrations. My lawyer Oscar Taulo told the court that doing so would be infringing constitutional rights and the court ruled in our favour. Honestly what the Blantyre DC has done is strange and uncalled for in the democratic dispensation,
“The same issue was raised during similar meeting on Friday in Lilongwe. However, Lilongwe DC Dr. Palani handled it professionally since he asked me to remain behind after everything. The good thing is that Mangani the one who started the whole thing was there and I reminded them that the case was in an open court and therefore we should just get hold of the judgement,” he added.
According to Namiwa, Magistrate Onsewa’s ruling on the matter was interpreted by his legal team lead by Charles Mhango and Oscar Taulo to say he was at liberty to participate in demonstrations unless where the authorities in this case the DC in their view had not given them a nod.
The DCs are currently facing criticism from different human rights activists with the recent being Lilongwe DC Dr Lawford Palani who has changed the route for demonstrations without consulting the organisers.
Initially, the organisers wanted to reach State House but Palani has opted that the petition be delivered at his office, a situation which is being challenged by organisers.
Writing on his Facebook page, one of the organisers Joshua Chisa Mbele has indicated that the demonstrations in Lilongwe will go as planned and the destination remains State House and that the petition will be directly delivered in the hands of President Chakwera.
“Since the issues raised require executive powers to be resolved, the demonstrations in Lilongwe will start from the Lilongwe Community Ground passing through Mchesi, all the way to the Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout and parliament building via the Presidential drive up to the Kamuzu Palace, just 100 meters away from the palace’s main gate where a petition will be presented to President Chakwera,”.
The demonstrations are being organised by a network of human rights activists tagged Action Against Impunity (API) who have branded President Lazarus Chakwera as a “Chief architect” of major corruption scandals.
API has since called on all Malawians of all walks of life from all corners of the country to join the peaceful demonstrations slated for Thursday, October 27, 2022, from 09:30hrs.
In the statement, the activists have also reminded all District Commissioners (DCs) and MCP supporters intending to block the protests that Malawi became a multiparty democracy in June 1993, and therefore holding peaceful demonstrations is a constitutional right that is non-negotiable.
More recently, Malawians were disturbed with revelations that government had been swindled a whopping MK30 billion meant for the Affordable Input Program (AIP).
President Chakwera is yet to address Malawians on the matter and expectations are high that he will make it a priority in his national address scheduled for Tuesday October 25.
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